It was a drizzly, gray, chilly February morning and I was driving to work. The Hubs was in the passenger side, the kid was munching her breakfast in the backseat.
The Hubs and I were talking about bills, about grocery shopping, a quick check of the rear view mirror shows me that I am being followed. Then the lights flash on.
My mind is racing as I pull over, Was I driving too fast? Is one of my lights out? Did I leave my drink on top of the car again? I roll down the window as instructed.
"I pulled you over because the tint on your windows is too dark."
"Really? They aren't tinted. This is stock from the factory."
"Looks pretty dark to me. License and registration, please." I sigh and hand over my information. "I need his ID, too."
This is weird. "Why? He's not driving." The Hubs touches my leg to make me shut up as he reaches into his pocket to get his driver's license.
Minutes pass before he approaches the window again. "Are there drugs in the car? Would you mind stepping out?"
This time the Hubs can't stop me, "Seriously? We have our 3 year old in the backseat, you are making me late for work and it is 8:20 in the morning. What kind of drugs would we have in the car?"
He backs down when he finally notices Z and asks me to come with him to the back of the car. "Are you in danger? Has he been hurting you? Are you in a safe situation?"
I sigh. "He is my husband. We have been married for more than 5 years, we have been together since high school. I am fine. Our kid is great."
"Well, I am gonna let you go, then. Here is your license and registration."
"Don't you want to check the window?"
"What? Oh. Um. Yeah." He half-heartedly grabs a little gadget from his car and affixes it to the window. It beeps and a green light beams back at him. "Looks good. You have a nice day, ma'am. Here's my card in case you need to contact me."
I am a white girl that was raised in the South. My husband is black. We live in a smallish town just south of Georgia.
And even though no one calls it racism anymore, it is everywhere.
The look from the old couple when you walk into a restaurant, the delayed service at some restaurants because they would rather you leave than have to serve you, the look of disdain from the women in the waiting rooms of doctor's offices.
Our country should not be like this.
We have a bi-racial president for goodness sake, we are supposed to be a kinder, gentler, more understanding nation. We are supposed to be teaching our children about love not hate - instead, they are being taught that a gentler disrespect, a nicer hate is acceptable.
I wish I could say that I am not guilty of thinking the wrong thoughts or making bad assumptions from time to time. I wish I could say that in this area, I do not struggle.
But that would be a lie.
Instead, I tell my daughter that God made everyone special, that no matter the circumstances, God has a purpose for every person we meet. And I show her compassion and love by volunteering (with her in tow), by making the extra effort to talk to everyone that we encounter - in the line at the grocery store, sitting in the waiting room.
I want to think that I am showing her equality. I want to think that I am showing her how to treat people. I want to think that I am teaching her to be a better person than I am.
And maybe that's what we all want - no matter what our race might be.